A Baton Rouge elementary school is facing an uproar from parents after hiring an individual with a long history of violent crimes and mental illness. All this individual had to do, write nowhere the application asked if he was ever convicted of a crime.
Only five days after submitting an application, the school welcomed a new teacher provisionally hired to its team. However, the problem was that this individual had spent ten months in prison for illegally attempting to acquire a firearm and only a year prior pulled a gun out in a dispute with another customer inside a retail store.
All of this information would have come out in a simple background check, but the school decided not to wait. Records showed that the employee did fill out the required form and submit fingerprints to the State Police, but due to Hurricane Ida, the agency was backed up on completing checks. Instead of waiting, the school chose to provisionally hire the applicant.
When the background check did complete, the new teacher suddenly stopped showing up in class and soon signed a notice of resignation and left the question that asked why the employee quit blank. It was too late for the school to save its reputation, though, because parents had already grown suspicious.
According to parents, the teacher had a habit of talking to no one and did not post grades, in addition to behaving extremely oddly. Any hope of things blowing over ended though, when a news article began spreading over one of the employee’s earlier convictions and students told their parents that the person in the mug shot was their teacher.
Parents met with the school’s leadership and received an apology for hiring a teacher before receiving the results of a background check but still could not get a direct answer on whether the teacher and the person in the mugshots were, in fact, one and the same. In response to parents’ demands, though, the school hired multiple more security personnel in case the former teacher decides to return.
The school’s superintendent states that the practice of provisional hiring has been discontinued but existed before they were in charge, and it is uncertain when it started. The school board for the district is expected to ban the policy allowing it on October 1st.
However, this incident has critically harmed parents’ trust in the school and left them wondering how many other schools in the district may have felons working for them. Clearly, parents deserve to know their children are safe in schools, and anywhere else they trust to care for them, and the best and only way to be sure of this is with properly performed background checks.